Student-Author: Xabier Prieto Zugazaga (Spain) in the course Co-Creative Organizational Leadership – Spring 2023 – #GenZ, tales from Finland collection
My first experience in the working world dates to February 2020, until December 2022, when I started my internship in a social services company focused on the elderly, in a cooperative led by 97% women, in which I mainly focused on accounting, training, and labor tasks.
This company is a cooperative that was born with the double objective of caring for elderly people with scarce economic resources and organizing the self-employment of women who provided care services to people, generally in the underground economy, responding to the social needs of people in situations of social vulnerability and dependence in the Basque Country (Northern Spain).
My beginnings in the company as a Generation Z teenager were not at all easy, as I felt a bit out of place for being the youngest person in the whole office, and also the only man. These were two factors that scared me a little bit about how I was going to fit into the company or how I was going to be received, as it was my first experience of this kind. Although these were only fears and prejudices, it has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life in which I have been very comfortable and I leave with new friendships that in my life I imagined could be given, and less in a work environment.
During my stay in the company, I feel that I have learned many things for my work life and above all for my personal life. At the same time, I have learned to adapt to new situations and new areas, and all the experiences I have had in the company, whether better or worse, have helped me to grow and develop as a person. The endowment of new tasks and responsibilities that I have been acquiring over time has made me have to adapt to new situations and acquire new knowledge. Sometimes I have felt saturated or overwhelmed by the fact of having many pending tasks to perform, but always with the support of my team, of which I am very proud and grateful for the treatment they have given me and especially for how they have helped me and taught me in all aspects, I have always managed to get the tasks forward and my best self. With this experience, I have realized how important it is to work in a good working environment, where we all help each other and above all respect each other, as it helps you to express yourself freely and above all to share your opinions and thoughts without any fear or hindrance.
To conclude, I would also like to highlight how it has helped me to open my eyes and learn more about the world in which we live by working in the training part in first person with these mostly immigrant women, which, knowing the personal history of each of them, you realize how lucky we are to be able to enjoy our family, freedom, and rights. The work I have done with these women has been mainly about interviewing them, helping them with the course, and taking care of their exams, which has been a very enriching task since I have felt that in a direct or indirect way, I have contributed to their better future and happiness.
Once my experience ended with a lot of sadness, it made me rethink many things, one of them was a series of areas of improvement for my future work, which I concluded in the following:
– To open up more with the team and take the next step by proposing new areas of performance and not focusing only on my tasks.
– Continue to improve my attitude, and always show myself to be active and eager to work. Not letting tiredness or low moods influence my work in some cases.
– To be more interested in getting to know the company and the sector in which I work better to become an expert in my field, and not to remain superficial.
I FEEL TO THANK YOU, MY ESTEEMED COLLEAGUES, FOR ALL YOUR HELP, UNDERSTANDING, AND LOVE YOU HAVE GIVEN ME. I WILL BE GRATEFUL AND PROUD OF ALL THAT YOU HAVE HELPED ME IN MY WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
Zugazaga, X.P. (2023). Personal experience.